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Report: Bucks insist they won’t trade Giannis Antetokounmpo

Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo

LAKE BUENA VISTA, FLORIDA - SEPTEMBER 08: Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks on the sidelines during the fourth quarter against the Miami Heat in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Second Round during the 2020 NBA Playoffs at The Field House at the ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex on September 08, 2020 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

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Giannis Antetokounmpo said he wouldn’t force a trade from the Bucks.

But it’s not up to him.

Milwaukee still has the MVP under contract for another season.

Unless he signs an extension, Antetokounmpo is headed toward 2021 unrestricted free agency. He could walk and leave the Bucks with nothing, which at least opens the possibility of them trading him first.

Tim Bontemps of ESPN:

If Antetokounmpo passes on signing the supermax, multiple sources are adamant that the Bucks won’t trade him

Antetokounmpo could end this entire saga by signing his super-max extension. But the economic downturn caused by coronavirus complicates the decision. Antetokounmpo could get the same contract terms from Milwaukee on an extension this offseason or in free agency in 2021. He could also re-sign with the Bucks on a shorter deal and continue to reassess, maybe with an eye on locking in long-term once the salary cap rises.

As long as Antetokounmpo remains on an expiring contract, other teams will test Milwaukee’s resolve with trade offers. But it’ll be difficult for those other teams to send enough that the Bucks willingly forgo their shots at winning the 2021 championship and keeping Antetokounmpo long-term.

That’s risky for Milwaukee. With their older roster, the Bucks could slide and become less appealing to Antetokounmpo.

But unless Antetokounmpo says he plans to leave in free agency (which is technically different than a trade request), it’s probably a risk Milwaukee must take. And even in that scenario, the Bucks could keep him, try to win a title next year (which would be rewarding even if he leaves) and hope he changes his mind.